Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 02:33 pm

Switching to e-cigarettes doesn’t eliminate all smoking health risks. In fact, vaping is linked to heart attacks and depression…

There have been numerous concerns about the addictive nature of e-cigarettes and now new research has linked e-cigarettes to heart attacks, coronary artery disease and depression.

The new study found that adults who report puffing on e-cigarettes or vaping are significantly more likely to have a heart attack, coronary artery disease and depression compared with those who don’t use them or any tobacco products.

“Until now, little has been known about cardiovascular events relative to e-cigarette use. These data are a real wake-up call and should prompt more action and awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes,” says Mohinder Vindhyal, MD, assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita and the study’s lead author.

How do e-cigarettes work?

E-cigarettes – sometimes called “e-cigs”, “vapes”, “e-hookahs”, “vape pens” or “electronic nicotine delivery systems” – are battery-operated, handheld devices that mimic the experience of smoking a cigarette.

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They work by heating the e-liquid, which may contain a combination of nicotine, solvent carriers (glycerol, propylene and/or ethylene glycol) and any number of flavours and other chemicals, to a high enough temperature to create an aerosol, or “vapour”, that is inhaled and exhaled.

According to Dr Vindhyal, there are now more than 460 brands of e-cigarettes and over 7 700 flavours.

Teens addicted to vaping

E-cigarettes have been gaining in popularity since being introduced in 2007, with sales increasing nearly 14-fold in the last decade.

They are also hotly debated – touted by some as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco, while others are sounding the alarm about the explosion of vaping among teens and young adults.

56 percent more likely to have a heart attack

This study found that, compared with non-users, e-cigarette users are 56 percent more likely to have a heart attack and 30 percent more likely to suffer a stroke.

Coronary artery disease and circulatory problems, including blood clots, were also much higher among those who vape – 10 percent and 44 percent higher, respectively.

This group was also twice as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and other emotional problems.

Most, but not all, of these associations held true when controlling for other known cardiovascular risk factors, such as age, sex, body mass index, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking.

After adjusting for these variables, e-cigarette users were 34 percent more likely to have a heart attack, 25 percent more likely to have coronary artery disease and 55 percent more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. Stroke, high blood pressure and circulatory problems were no longer statistically different between the two groups.

“When the risk of heart attack increases by as much as 55 percent among e-cigarette users compared to non-smokers, I wouldn’t want any of my patients nor my family members to vape. When we dug deeper, we found that, regardless of how frequently someone uses e-cigarettes, daily or just on some days, they are still more likely to have a heart attack or coronary artery disease,” says Dr Vindhyal.

The study included 96 467 people

The study, one of the largest to date looking at the relationship between e-cigarette use and cardiovascular and other health outcomes and among the first to establish an association, included data from a total of 96 467 respondents from the National Health Interview Survey, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-fielded survey of Americans, from 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Source: American College of Cardiology via

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